The Lightbulbs Were Made Of Spun Sugar

Everything is a bit frantic because, and I may not have mentioned this before, I am going on the longest holiday I have had since I was about 22 (when life was just one long holiday spent loafing about smoking and not going to bed very often). We are going to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for three weeks and, as five days in Italy is the most time I have spent abroad in the last thirty years, you can appreciate that this is a BIG THING. There is far less than a month to go and a lot of loose and flappy ends to tidy up before leaving. Days need to be organised and packed with constructive activity. Diaries must be synchronised and backlogs must be cleared. Contractors must be left with concise instructions, plants must be ordered in good time and clients must be soothed and stroked.

Except I know (and probably you know) that I am not that efficient and am easily distracted by writing this, or chatting or going on a train or something.

For example, I came back on the late train the other day. Friday night in London is not a pretty sight. I began the evening in a bar that was like the Dante’s vision of hell on three levels. But with extra noise, extra people, extra heat, extra purgatory. It was an appalling ,heaving mass of humanity and ghastliness. I ended the evening on a late train that was full of people eating smelly food. The good drunks were quietly snoozing, the bad drunks are noisily arguing. Other people were having indiscreet telephone conversations with either grumpy spouses or whomsoever.

A woman behind me is ringing a whole string of people and entreating each one that they have to keep the fact that she has called them secret. There is then a long story explaining that she has been out with Chris and she (Chris) got so drunk that she was arrested by the transport police and was calling her (the woman making the call) all sorts of names. Apparently she don’t know where she (Chris: are you still with me?) is  and she don’t trust the Old Bill. She’s got a bad leg and that is why she collapsed . Dave got the right hump with her (at this point I got a bit lost having not been introduced to Dave). She had not done anything wrong for once in her life. She didn’t know what to do. She mustn’t laugh but she (Chris: keep up at the back) really should not drinkl. She (telephone lady) was threatening to hit her and everything to bring her to her senses. “I’m relatively sober you know” (Yeah, Right). Nightmare. She said to the copper “go on lock her up for the night, I don’t care” but she does care.” If she’s dead in the morning, I’m suing you”.

Then Chris rang, just as we got to Bletchley. She’s okay and not in a police cell or hospital ward. There was tearful reconciliation and everybody is happy. Phew.

The bit in between was marvellous and entailed chat, delightful company,  some indifferent food, a man dressed as Hitler, a girl with nipple pasties and some dancing.

You see? Nothing but distractions wherever I turn.

I should be writing June copy for The English Garden. And April stuff for Gardeners World. And making plant lists for four clients. And buying a Valentine’s Day Tree for someone (i). And getting a lake sorted. And organising three hedges. And hassling people (greenhouse people in particular). And wondering where the tree surgeons have gone. And remembering to buy a new yard broom. And a whole lot of other stuff.

Anything really but writing this…

You may recall that I went to Cumbria twice in a week last month. This week I have been on the M3 three times in four days. This, in itself, is not an interesting fact. In fact it is very dull. If somebody turned to you in a bar and opened the conversation with that fact you would immediately start wondering whether you could squeeze through the window of the gents in order to escape (ii). I just mention it as it is the first time in over a year I have been that way and it is odd how things come in multiples sometimes. I am now boring myself.

The point, such as it is, is that one of those journeys ended up here:

My apologies in advance for the somewhat peculiar ‘related videos’. Suffice to say that if you were after tips on propagating Cyclamen you will leave unsatisfied.

The picture is of an oak bench I designed with a particularly gorgeous frost shadow.

I am listening to Houston sung by Dean Martin. “Haven’t eaten in about a week, I’m so hungry that when I walk I squeak.”

(i) Not ‘for someone’ as in ‘for someone’. But ‘for someone’ as in ‘on behalf of a client to give to someone’. If you get my drift.

(ii) I have tried to escape through the window of a Gents once. It is not to be recommended: especially if the window is too high and small and you end up falling in an urinal. Unless that is the sort of thing you enjoy, in which case please carry on.